Accounting for uncertainty in marine reserve design

Halpern, B. S., Regan, H. M., Possingham, H. P. and McCarthy, M. A. (2006) Accounting for uncertainty in marine reserve design. Ecology Letters, 9 1: 2-11. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00827.x

Author Halpern, B. S.
Regan, H. M.
Possingham, H. P.
McCarthy, M. A.
Title Accounting for uncertainty in marine reserve design
Journal name Ecology Letters   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1461-023X
Publication date 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00827.x
Volume 9
Issue 1
Start page 2
End page 11
Total pages 10
Editor Michael Hochberg
Place of publication Oxford
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
270708 Conservation and Biodiversity
770307 Marine protected areas
Abstract Ecosystems and the species and communities within them are highly complex systems that defy predictions with any degree of certainty. Managing and conserving these systems in the face of uncertainty remains a daunting challenge, particularly with respect to developing networks of marine reserves. Here we review several modelling frameworks that explicitly acknowledge and incorporate uncertainty, and then use these methods to evaluate reserve spacing rules given increasing levels of uncertainty about larval dispersal distances. Our approach finds similar spacing rules as have been proposed elsewhere - roughly 20-200 km - but highlights several advantages provided by uncertainty modelling over more traditional approaches to developing these estimates. In particular, we argue that uncertainty modelling can allow for (1) an evaluation of the risk associated with any decision based on the assumed uncertainty; (2) a method for quantifying the costs and benefits of reducing uncertainty; and (3) a useful tool for communicating to stakeholders the challenges in managing highly uncertain systems. We also argue that incorporating rather than avoiding uncertainty will increase the chances of successfully achieving conservation and management goals.
Keyword Dispersal
Marine Protected Areas
Marine Reserves
Metapopulation Model
Reserve Networks
Propagule Dispersal
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 08:23:28 EST